Devon Under 17's
1998 Season 's Report
Played 8 Won 3 Lost 2 Won on First Innings 3
Finalist ECB National Texaco Trophy Two Day Competition
v WARWICKSHIRE at Seaton C.C. - Devon lost by 24 runs
WARWICKSHIRE 226 all out (D.Court 5-60)
DEVON 202 all out (M.Wood 74; D.Manning 31; W.Murray 45*)
The Texaco Under 17 County Championship
v DORSET at Bournemouth Sports Club. - Devon won on first innings
DEVON 198 all out (S.Edwards 31; D.Manning 32)
DORSET 165 all out (R.Bryan 5-30)
v SOMERSET at King's College. - Devon won on first innings
SOMERSET 177 all out (B.Latchem 3-58; M.Wood 4-26)
47 - 1
DEVON 244 all out (B.Latchem 53; A.Wallace 40; R.Bryan 32)
v HAMPSHIRE at Exmouth C.C. - Devon won on first innings
DEVON 360-8 dec (B.Latchem 53; M.Wood 191; D.Manning 60)
HAMPSHIRE 280 for 5
v CORNWALL at Braunton C.C. - Devon won by an innings and 1 run
CORNWALL 130 all out (R.Bryan 3-23; A.Wallace 4-12)
113 all out (B.Latchem 5-26)
DEVON 244 all out (D.Manning 90; R.Bryan 38)
Quarter Final - 100 Overs
v GLAMORGAN at Tondu C.C., - Devon won by 20 runs
DEVON 254 - 9 inns closed (A.Wallace 48; P.Arnold 54 W.Murray 31*)
GLAMORGAN 234 all out
Semi Final -100 Overs
v SURREY at Weybridge C.C. - Devon won by 30 runs
DEVON 289 all out (B.Latchem 48; M.Wood 59; A.Wallace 51; D.Manning 37)
SURREY 259 all out (D.Court 5-67)
Final - 100 Overs
v DURHAM at the St Lawrence Cricket Ground, Canterbury - Devon lost by 6 wickets
DEVON 184 all out (D.Court 61*)
DURHAM 185 for 4
The 1998 Squad M.Wood (Captain), D.Manning (Vice Captain), T.Anning, P.Arnold, R.Bryan, D.Court, S.Edwards, S.Edmonds, B.Elphick, P.Fraser, I.Gear, T.Kekani, R.Knapman, B.Latchem, W.Murray, J.Sienesi, A.Wallace
Texaco Trophy quarter finals 1997, semi-finalist 1996 and finalists 1998 a remarkable and unique record in the country. Devon are the only county to have won their group in this competition in three successive years. Over these three seasons we have witnessed virtually all the emotions and this year was no different. Having had an opportunity of reflecting on the season, we out-performed all our opponents with the exception of those in the final - Durham who outplayed us in all departments. Before that we had thoroughly justified the title of the second best under 17 side in the country, with some magnificent positive performances.
The season was initially condensed into two hectic weeks in July and started when we played Dorset at the Bournemouth Sports Club. Having played some beach cricket the night before in the sun, the weather the next day was disappointing with rain a distinct possibility. Despite the danger of an interruption, on winning the toss Devon took the positive step of electing to bat to the surprise of their hosts. That famous opening partnership of Wallace Arnold unfortunately failed as Devon slumped to 14 -2 after five overs. Simon Edwards and captain David Manning steadied the ship with a stand of 66. Rain made its first appearance before lunch and made playing unpleasant. The first break reduced the day's play by 1 hour 40 minutes and the scorer scoured the rule book to make sure we were not penalised. Two phone calls to Lords sorted out a rather ambiguous interpretation by the home side and play resumed after lunch only for the day to conclude prematurely at 5.05. By then Devon had been reduced to 138-6 with the undefeated David Court and Russell Knapman at the wicket. Conditions were much improved on the second day and the game plan was to first reach 200 and then chance our arm. David Court departed early and it was left to Knapman to steer the tail to the target. He failed by 2 runs but, with William Murray, Peter Fraser and débutante Trevor Anning, he shared in vital partnerships of 18 and two of 21. The character of these four gave an early indication of what was to come for the rest of the season. Knapman's innings was in the context of the season a most important one.
Dorset got off to a reasonable start but the opening bowlers Court and Knapman looked a class combination. Sadly Knapman only lasted five overs before he withdrew injured from the attack. This allowed his namesake Russell Bryan to demonstrate what great strides he had made since he was unfortunately injured last season. He has become a very swift proposition with a similar attitude to Court and they provided the side with a very fine cutting edge, both were also to play a key part in the nineteen's success. Bryan was virtually unplayable and took 5-30 off 16 overs. We dropped a couple of catches but Court's at slip and one from Wallace were of the highest class. Alex Wallace took a couple of wickets and Dorset were bowled out for 165 in sixty-seven overs. Play finished at ten to six leaving no time for a second innings. The side's positive approach had played an important part in the vital first innings win that set up the season. It was at Bournemouth that the theme from The Great Escape was first whistled and it was to re-occur frequently throughout the rest of the season - always out of tune.
Two days later we visited King's College, Taunton to face Somerset. The home side won the toss and elected to bat. First change bowler Alex Wallace took two wickets in three balls thanks to catches by Manning behind the stumps. Russell Bryan's wonderful direct hit ran out Williams for 0 and Somerset were in trouble at 20 for 3. Latchem trapped Coles leg before and Somerset were 46 for 4 after 31 overs. The patient Baker and Davies put on 102 for the fifth wicket before leg spinner Latchem struck again in the seventy-first over with Somerset scoring at just over two an over. Matthew Wood then took over and in four and a half overs took four wickets as Somerset were all out in the eighty-fourth over for 177. The fielding had been good with Manning picking up four catches behind the stumps. Devon had to bat for 56 minutes and the new opening combination of Bryn Latchem and Simon Edwards put on 32 in eighteen overs. Next day the pair put on a further twelve runs when Ellis bowled Edwards but Bryn Latchem cemented his opening spot for the remainder of the season when he scored his maiden county fifty. Knapman again batted sensibly in his eighty-four minutes at the crease as the score reached 91. Knapman was caught 22 minutes before lunch and worst was to follow three balls later when Wood played on to leave the visitors 91 for 3. Manning and Latchem navigated the side to pass the hundred by lunch. Latchem fell immediately after the break quickly followed by Manning and Court as the score stood at 136-6. Court had batted positively but holed out not for the first or last time in his career. Phil Arnold was the next to go and Devon needed 27 to gain first innings points. Alex Wallace took control and batted most sensible. Wallace, who had been in South Africa the previous season, proved a vital member of the side. His batting played a crucial part in a number of games, his fielding was always outstanding and his bowling useful although he claimed he was under bowled. With Murray, more on him later in the report, the score was passed and the side's approach changed totally. Once the points had been secured Murray attached and was leg before. It was now necessary to secure as many additional batting points as possible. Wallace was helped by Bryan who just whacked the ball to all parts, and when Wallace was caught for 40, Bryan continued with Peter Fraser and put on 34 vital runs to fall six short of another bonus point 244. Fraser played another fine cameo innings but his lack of confidence in himself resulted in his going to France the next week on a school trip and he lost his place in the side. Whenever he was called to field as twelfth man he was outstanding and it is hoped that in future he will have more faith in his own ability. What followed was a bore. Somerset was more worried about losing wickets than scoring the 75 runs that would have given them an additional point, batted for 34 overs to score 47 runs. Manning took a stumping off Murray and missed another difficult one which might have secured us an additional point. Wood rang the changes and Edwards bowled two overs for one run which rather summed up the home sides approach.
The second week's cricket started at Exmouth when Hampshire were welcomed to Devon. Matt Wood won the toss and wanting to erase his duck in the previous match, elected to bat. This he achieved with little difficulty as in the company of Bryn Latchem the pair put on 155 for the first wicket in 53 overs. This was the outstanding partnership of the season and virtually put the side in an invincible position. Latchem carried on where he had left off against Somerset in this vital partnership which was not broken until after lunch. Wood's innings was as good as anyone is likely to watch at this level. He batted for 301 minutes, faced 294 balls and hit 24 fours. Fatigue alone was the reason for his demise nine short of what would have a remarkable double century and it was five past five when he tamely tapped back a return catch with his sides score at 330. He had also featured in a partnership of 78 with David Manning who hit a 76 ball 60 which to everyone's surprise was Manning's first fifty for the county. He hit seven fours and one six. At the fall of Manning at 357 the side lost it's way when the required twenty quick runs were not achieved. The declaration after 105 overs left Hampshire fifteen minutes batting. In this short time Whitcomb was missed at slip and, perhaps more importantly, Court was injured. He could not bowl on the second day and in fact was out of bowling action for a couple of weeks which meant that he missed the under 19's tour. On the second day Hampshire settled for the draw as they batted out 106 overs for 280-5. This eventual target was only reached as Devon became disenchanted towards the end of the innings and gave away unnecessary runs. This was disappointing as the side has to learn to concentrate all the time and in the long term could have had serious consequences as both sides finished with the same number of points, a total travesty as Hampshire had been completely outplayed.
The final group match was played at Braunton where the side entertained Cornwall, who travelled via Plymouth and Exeter and arrived very late, delaying the start of the match by 30 minutes. They did not offer the toss which Manning lost and they elected to bat. Russell Bryan and Ian Gear, in place of Court, bowled exceptionally well to reduce Cornwall to 36-3 with Latchem taking a fine catch as second slip to remove the England player Gazzard. Alex Wallace on his home ground bowled a splendid spell taking 2-12 off twelve overs, Bryan picked up three wickets, Trevor Anning two and the captain took another three catches behind the stumps. Cornwall was bowled out for 130 in fifty-nine overs. The visitors were in a very aggressive mood when Devon batted and tried very hard to phase the home side out. At close of play Devon were 102-7 after 43 overs. Ben Elphrick had batted sensibly along with Russell Knapman but Devon had a lot to do the next day. The Wallace family kindly put the squad up overnight and, having been wined and dined to a very high standard, the team were in a positive frame of mind the next day. The captain was holding the fort with William Murray. Murray is a remarkable, unassuming character, a real personality who this season has played one of the most important roles in the side. He gave his captain, not for the first time and certainly not for the last, the support the side needed to tackle the task of taking the first innings lead. The pair inched towards their target and after a great deal of patience and skill they passed their initial target in the fifty-eighth over to the relief and pleasure of their colleagues. Once the first innings points had been achieved Cornwall became a remarkably quiet side and Manning took over. He started to crash the ball out of the ground and in all batted 165 minutes. Murray fell at 143 after putting on 56 for the eighth wicket and Bryan then took up the cudgels with Manning. It was David Court who felt that, if we had a positive hour, we could build up a reasonable first innings lead to have a bowl at Cornwall in the afternoon. Bryan struck 38 off 31 balls hitting 2 fours and 3 sixes and put on 55 with his skipper. Trevor Anning then helped Devon past the 200 and was last out at 244. Manning was ten short of a well deserved maiden county hundred but he had lead his side through a difficult time into a reasonable position. His attitude is wonderful and the continual smile on his face has a great affect on his side and supporters. His role in the season's success was vital. Cornwall seemed low and it was vital that we turned the knife. Latchem, who had bowled with little luck in the first innings, bowled well and with luck in the second innings. He took 5-26 off fourteen overs and Cornwall had little answer to another future county prospect of the highest standard. That man Murray chipped in with three important wickets as he started swinging the ball the wrong way and his 3-4 off five overs finished the Cornish off. The side's attitude and commitment in this game was as good as it gets and they deserved their success. It was now a matter of waiting to find out what the other sides did over the next three weeks.
It came down to the final match of the season where Devon, Somerset or Hampshire could win the group. Hampshire and Somerset were playing each other and fortunately played each other out of contention as Somerset made a remarkable recovery. Our quarter final was a repeat of the crucial group match of the previous year and for the third successive year we had to visit Glamorgan. Court was fit and Wood back from his field course. Both had to be released by Somerset who originally wanted them to play for their second team. Peter Anderson and Julian Wyatt are to be thanked for their assistance in gaining their release and agreement to play in any further matches. Indeed Wyatt came and watched the second day at Tondu C.C., the same ground on which the seventeen's had won in 1997. Devon was soon in dire trouble at 49-3; 55-4; 79-6; 92-7. Glamorgan was a good bowling and fielding side and the confidence of the home side and supporters were high. The resilience of Devon was again in evidence as first Alex Wallace and then Phil Arnold, William Murray and Trevor Anning fought it out. Wallace batted 145 minutes, faced 139 balls and was caught for 48 crucial runs. He put on 60 with Arnold to take the score to 152, still no way near enough runs. From this stage onwards in the competition it was a straight 100 overs a side. Arnold then made his outstanding contribution of the season. With Murray, who else, he put on 44 for the eighth wicket and was then bowled for 54 (122 balls, 121 minutes, three fours). An innings that confirmed his ability with the bat in a season when his batting form had disappointed. Murray (31 not out) then took over and put on 35 with Bryan (20 off 35 balls - a subdued innings by his standards) and 23 with the undefeated Trevor Anning, Devon remarkably had batted the full 100 for 254. Once again the ability of all eleven players to bat had proved decisive. Even so the home team was more than quietly confident as typified by their coaches telephone conversation to their head quarters which I could not fail to overhear or perhaps was meant too!! Glamorgan got off to a confident start against the varied Devon attack and at lunch were 104-2 seemingly in total command. Wood had turned to Murray before lunch and in tandem with his own off spinners, had put the break on. Indeed both were bowling fine spells. Importantly Devon was giving absolutely nothing away in the field and was tightening the screw. At 144-7 after 62 overs the game was very interestingly poised and Devon seemed in a good position. Glamorgan's eighth wicket pair rode their luck and put on 51 to take their side past the 200 mark. A critical run out broke the partnership and it was now a question of who had the better nerve. Glamorgan advanced to 225 for 9 with Wood going for less than two an over, although they started to go after Murray. Wallace took another key wicket in his second two over spell (was Wood doing a Brearley?) and although a run out was fluffed, Manning more that made up for it with an amazing leg side stumping to remove the last man off Wood. Devon won a nail biter by 20 runs. The tail had wagged and the side had fielded to a very high standard, none more that the twelfth man Peter Fraser.
A new ground for the semi-final as Devon was paired with Surrey at Weybridge C.C. The side at full strength so there was the difficult choice of the final eleven. Peter Fraser and Trevor Anning were the unlucky duo to stand down, as they were for the final. They took the decisions very well, at least outwardly they were superb, but their joint contribution was as important as those who actually made the side and this must never be forgotten. A hot day, a ground that was placed with roads on three sides and another critical hurdle. With the under 19's at nearby Wellington College, Hiley and Sue Edwards and Matt Evans were invaluable in enabling me to be in two places at once on the second day. Infact I remained with the under 17's allowing Jim Alldis to sort out the older generation. Devon were totally and absolutely positive in their approach and on winning the toss they batted. Again the innings did not get off to the best of starts, apart from the Latchem/Wood pairing at Exmouth we never had a successful opening pairing and this is something that must be overcome in 2000, that is provided that Alldis/Gamble pairing continues at nineteen's in 1999. After twenty-five overs Devon were 90-3. Wood (59) and Wallace (51) put on 65 runs in seventeen overs when sadly Wood was bowled. He had faced 85 balls and hit 12 fours in another classical innings. Wallace was in dominant mood from ball one and hit ten fours in his 63 ball innings. Devon then lost Arnold in the same over and Wallace and Manning put on 47 in nine overs. Manning struck seven fours in his 37 off 47 balls. David Court tried the restrained approach to batting but was run out at 259. Murray was of course still there and last man Bryan was told to play his natural game! The last pair put on 30 in 3½ overs, Bryan 22 off fifteen balls, Murray was again not out, 289 off sixty eight overs scored at just over 4 an over was a satisfactory rate but we could have done with the other thirty overs! The early conclusion of their innings gave the side an opportunity of making inroads into Surrey before close of play. Court and Bryan put on a devastating spell of fast bowling. Court removed both openers and Knapman bowled another telling spell, bowling Crux for 1 and after 17 overs Surrey were 48-3 and shell shocked. The next morning started well and the powerful Surrey batting line up were reduced to 49-4 (Court again); 51-5 (Court again); 90-6 (Bryan this time); 91-7 (Knapman's second). Devon in total control or perhaps we thought we were. The eighth wicket put on 115 and Devon had one of their poorest spells of the season. The initiative was lost and unbelievably heads were dropping, fortunately lunch arrived and a chance for a regrouping. Court came back to claim his fifth wicket, breaking a partnership that was taking the game away. It was a relatively simple chance that went up in the air and yet the pressure of the actual catch was immense, under the chance was I always catch the middle ball Murray and he held it. The catch of the season, it's importance immense. Murray then took over again - he trapped the other partner in the big stand leg before and then had Yarley caught behind to start the celebrations. Devon had won by 30 runs, Court had taken 5-69. Everyone knows David's potential, his competitiveness rubs off on the rest of the side and, if only he can harness his batting skills, he could be a top flight all rounder.
The final was held at the St Lawrence Cricket Ground, Canterbury, the ECB put us up at a first class hotel and the scene was set for the final. We had been warned by Surrey that we might be confronted by a green seamers pitch but we still decided to be positive. Bryan had been injured the previous week with the under 19's and was selected to play as a batsman!! Realistically the loss of one of our main strike bowlers who was in amazing form was to be a major handicap. Russell is another player who personifies the sides attitude, he is one who is not frightened to take the other side on and let them have it with both bat and ball. His loss was a huge psychological blow but one that had to be overcome. On winning the toss we were soon 16-2. Matthew Wood survived a confident appeal for a catch behind the wicket and then played two blistering cover drives. His form reminded me of Lye's cameo innings against Sussex in the semi-final two years previously and, like that innings it did not last. He, like Lye, walked and was then uncertain he had hit it. It was uphill from then on, 34-3 became 41-4 which became 72-5 and then 75-6. Could another recovery be made. The answer was no, Durham in all their matches to date had bowled well and was an exceptionally strong bowling attack and so they proved to be in the final. The conditions suited their splendid seam bowling attack. Alex Wallace and David Court took the score to 115 before Wallace was caught for a fine 29. He had batted for 113 minutes with great skill and patience and he was another all rounder who played a integral part in the seasons success with a number of consistent performances. Court was proving all his doubters wrong and came of age with the bat. Bryan batted 36 minutes for his 7 and helped take the score to 144. The final pairing of Murray and Court took the score 184 when Murray was actually dismissed! Court batted 123 minutes faced 94 balls hit 7 fours and was undefeated on 61. A face saving innings but the score was a long way short of what was needed. Devon bowled 35 overs before the close of play and by then the game was over. Pratt who scored 87 was dropped at slip but Court removed his partner with the help of David Manning. Manning took a second catch off Murray to make it 70-2 but Durham were intending to dominate. Devon then produced another sub standard session when Durham appeared to score at will and from the twenty-third over until the thirty-third they scored at seven an over, a totally unacceptable rate, whatever the situation. For the only time in the season I was immensely disappointed at the way the side appeared to disintegrate and this session was the only one that really disappointed me. At no time did their elders in the nineteen's give in but for these ten overs Devon lost the thread. Durham did lose the high scoring Ken Gresham run out by a brilliant direct hit by Bryan shortly before close of play as they finished on 151-3. The Management showed their displeasure, there is no disgrace in losing cricket matches provided.... The next day the side was asked to show those present at the ground what they were really made of and a splendid diving catch by Wallace soon removed Pratt. This was the sides last success of the season as Durham reached their target after another ten overs. A bitter disappointment not because we were beaten by a better team but because we did not perform. Court took a couple of wickets and, if you take out his runs, the picture would have been a very sorry one. The side just did not perform over the one and a half days. The important lesson that must be learnt is the disappointment of failing at the final fence is not a pleasant experience and should the situation arise in the future must not be repeated. Having recently watched Len Edmonds excellent video of the match it sadly brings it all back again!! Kent and England's Mark Ealham presented the medals.
This is not the note to end this report. If you take out the 1½ days at Canterbury and a few odd moments here and there 1998 was a remarkable season Every member of the squad played an important part and if the team can be kept together there is no reason, provided the lessons of 1998 are learnt, that further success cannot be achieved.
The thanks are as usual made with real meaning. Hiley and Sue Edwards continued where they had left off over the last two years, Matt Evans' input at the semi-final was vital. Margaret Manning took over travel arrangements, Andy Bryan was responsible for the families accommodation. Exmouth and Braunton provided first class facilities for both our - two-day home matches and Seaton was an excellent host for our friendly against Warwickshire. The DCUS umpires were always punctually at our matches and performed to a high standard and in a very professional manner. Elizabeth Webb played her normal vital part in the side's success. The cricket was funded by the Devon County Cricket Club, the ECB and the Devon Cricket Board. Thank you to everyone concerned in a memorable season and of course one can never forget the scorer.
The D.H.Watkins Trophy for the Young Cricketer of the Year was jointly awarded for their outstanding all round performances and leadership to David Manning and Matthew Wood.